Five Steps to Better Decision Making

Five Steps to Better Decision Making

Some people seemed to be graced with a talent for making wise decisions, never succumbing to impulse or indecision. They seem undaunted by the confusion, mixed feelings, external pressures, and second-guessing that plague the rest of us.

Even if you aren’t naturally possessed with Zen-like decision-making prowess, the following five tips can help you de-mystify the process.

1. Clarify the decision to be made. This may seem obvious, but it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of the main objective. Don’t allow extraneous concerns to distract you from the main issue.

2. Assume you have a bias, because you do. Your past experiences, personality, and values all shape the way you think. Trying to think objectively begins with recognizing that you’re not.

3. Get educated. The best decision-making process in the world won’t help you if you’ve started with faulty, outdated, or limited information. This includes seeking wise counsel. Identify the people you know who have a history of wise decision-making and ask them for input.

4. Make a comprehensive Pro/Con list. The key word here is ‘comprehensive’. It’s ok for some items to show up on both lists.

5. Extend yourself some grace lest you allow the fear of making a poor choice to prevent you from making any choice at all. Asking, “How significant will this decision be in 5 years, or 5 months, or even 5 weeks?” can help you put the significance of the decision into perspective and move forward with confidence.

Jill Howgate, LAPC
jhowgate @

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